Lansing’s Own Aphrodite

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Love and beauty are McDonald’s tricks of the trade

It’s February and it’s safe to say that love is in the air. For Heather McDonald, owner and president of Gala Rentals, Graham Banquet Center, Chiavari Chairs of Michigan and Whipped Bakery, love is in the air 365 days a year. McDonald is a little along the lines of Lansing’s very own Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty. And that’s just what she does.

“My absolute favorite thing is to see the joy brought to people through this industry and to make everyone happy,” McDonald said. “Being involved in that crucial moment in their life is amazing.”

It all began with a passion for interior design that, accompanied with hard work, transformed into a fulfilling career. McDonald started her profession with a small decorating company called Decorating by Heather, which morphed into what is now know

n as Gala Rentals, a larger-scale rental company that provides everything event-related.
McDonald soon established Chiavari Chairs and in 2016 took ownership of Graham Banquet Center in Laingsburg. McDonald took her love of interior design into her new hall, adding features like a hidden garden, gazebo and flower beds. The banquet hall offers a chapel and hall with a historically modern feel and an industrial twist on country elegance.

“No event is too large, and I never take more than four weddings in a week between the businesses,” McDonald explained.

Spreading her passion even further, McDonald expanded her services last fall when she purchased Whipped Bakery from former owner Randy Umfleet and moved the establishment to the Frandor Shopping Center in Lansing. McDonald considers the Frandor area as the capital of desserts and feels that was the icing on the cake for her and her businesses. She offers the same recipes as the previous owner as well as a few new ones. Another new addition to the bakery is it now offers more than just baked goods. McDonald has transformed the establishment into a boutique bakery where customers can find aprons and utensils as well as an incoming clothing line.

McDonald offers a one-stop shop for any bride or event. From the tasty treats to the decorations and venue, McDonald has something for everyone. She is actively involved in every aspect of her businesses. The hands-on approach she carries with her through all of her business ventures helps set the pace for her staff. McDonald has traveled all over Michigan for events from weddings to celebrations of life.

“I love my career, meeting new customers and helping people find that vision,” McDonald said.

She may specialize in love-based celebrations like weddings and anniversaries, but McDonald is knowledgeable in every aspect of event planning, including corporate events, private parties and much more.

“We have done about 500 or so weddings,” McDonald said. “They (the chairs) have a lot to tell if they could talk.”

McDonald credited her husband and family as being her biggest supporters. The full-time mother and owner of multiple businesses knows the importance of spending time with her family. Being able to make her own schedule and having a trustworthy staff allows McDonald the flexibility to spend a day with her husband and kids.

“The time I can have with my family is most important,” McDonald explained. “It’s hard to juggle both, but I don’t know how to do anything else.”

McDonald believes that “everything happens for a reason” and feels blessed to have the gifts she has been given. It shows in her excitement when talking that she truly loves her work. In a business full of love, McDonald truly pours her heart and soul into all that she does.


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